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Be safe this Halloween

PRINCETON — State officials are urging motorists to not forget safety as they celebrate the Halloween weekend and the holiday itself.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police have joined efforts to issue a simple Halloween message for drivers: "Don't be tricked into drunk driving this Halloween."

In a joint statement issued Friday, Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said Halloween revelers should be aware their Halloween disguises will not make them invisible to police, who will crack down on drunk drivers and safety belt law violators throughout the state on and around Halloween.

"This Halloween, don't be tricked into thinking you are OK to drive if you celebrate with alcohol," Schneider said. "A sober and safe ride after the party is the best treat you can give yourself and everyone else on the road this Halloween, and it's the only way to avoid a DUI arrest if you drink and drive."

According to data collected by IDOT and ISP, 20 people lost their lives during the last five years (2008-2012) in motor vehicle crashes during the Halloween holiday, and another 1,284 individuals were injured. Of the 20 fatalities, seven occurred in crashes involving alcohol. Four people in Illinois died in Halloween traffic crashes last year, with two of those individuals dying in crashes that involved alcohol.

In looking ahead to this year's Halloween parties and celebrations, Schneider said there are some simple safety tips to follow to avoid impaired driving accidents:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.

• If you drink too much, call a sober friend or family member, call a taxi or use public transportation to get home safely.

• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 or contact local law enforcement.

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